What should I know about Moscow Transport?
Today we want to share some information about a comprehensive system of Moscow transport. What should a traveler visiting Moscow know about public transport to feel free and be like a local? Our aim is to dispel a myth that Moscow transport is horrible and the city is immersed in the constant traffic jams with the only reliable means of transport is Moscow metro. The situation now differs a lot from those of the 2014s and earlier because it has been modernised considerably and is under modernisation period now.
Moscow system of public transit includes the famous Moscow Metro and MCC (Moscow Central Circle), a network of surface transit (buses, trolleybuses and trams), Aeroexpress trains heading to airports and taxi. Carsharing and Bikesharing during mid-spring to mid-autumn are also well-developed in Moscow.
Built in 1935, Moscow’s underground is one of the biggest and the most beautiful in the world. Beside its touristic value, it is also the most popular mean of transportation among Muscovites, serving 56% of all public transport passengers in the city. The volume of passenger traffic is on average 6,5 million passengers per day.
Moscow metro remains the best way to get around the city – it’s fast, cheap, safe, environmentally friendly and really convenient!
Using metro is not a rocket science, but it’s fast pace and huge crowds can a be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. It would be easier to go for the first ride with a local (for example you can join our metro tour 😉
But if you don’t have any Russian friend around, read our tips about getting around Moscow metro and travel like a pro.
Q: What are ticket tariffs available?
You can buy 3 types of tickets in Moscow metro:
Unified (Yediniy – Единый) for a limited number of rides (from 1 to 60) from 55 RUB to 1765 RUB. Tickets for 1-2 rides/ activations are valid 5 days only, and tickets for 5 or more rides/activations are valid 90 days.
Unified (Yediniy – Единый) ticket for 24 hours for 200 RUB
The universal Troika card (Тройка). The balance on the card “Troika” can be replenished by any sum for up to 3,000 rubles and you may use it for one-time trips by metro or by surface transport
The basic fare of the Troika card is 36 roubles per metro ride and MCC (Moscow Central Circle) and 36 roubles per ride on surface transit. If you take one ride on the metro and change to surface transport several times within 90 minutes, the entire trip will cost 56 roubles.
Note that you will need to pay a 50 rouble deposit when you buy the Troika card. It will be refunded after you return the card to a ticket office.
If you travel with big luggage, you have to buy an additional ticket for every piece.
*Prices are relevant for May, 2018 and may change over time.
Q: Are tickets valid only in the metro?
No. All tickets described here, are valid for travel by metro, MCC, bus, trolleybus, tram, and monorail system services.
Q: Where can I buy metro tickets?
You can buy tickets either at the counter [касса] (there are at least a few counters at every metro station), or in the ticket booths, so-called “terminals” [“автоматы”] inside the metro stations. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
Terminals accept cash, give change, however, make sure to check what banknotes are accepted. Terminals sell tickets for 1 or 2 rides only.
Q: How to buy tickets?
Here are some phrases which will help you to understand what to choose or say when buying a metro ticket in Russia:
Tickets – Билеты (bilety) or more officially, Проездные билеты (Proyezdnyye bilety)
Yediniy (Unified) Ticket passes for a limited number of rides
Troika card for unlimited number of rides – Карта Тройка (Karta Troika)
A ticket for 1 ride please – bilet na odnu poyezdku pozhaluysta
A ticket for 2 rides please – bilet na dve poyezdki pozhaluysta
A ticket for 20/ 40 rides please – bilet na dvadzat’ / sorok poyezdok pozhaluysta
Yediniy (Unified) ticket for 24 hours please – Yediniy na dvadzat’ chetyre chasa pozhaluysta
How much does it cost? – skol’ko eto stoit?
Repeat please – povtorite pozhaluysta
Do you accept credit cards? -Vy prinimayete kreditnyye kartochki?
Q: What are the Moscow’s metro opening hours?
Moscow metro operates from 5.30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Trains come on average every 2.5 minutes.
Underground is definitely the fastest mean of Moscow transport.
However, be prepared for crazy crowds inside the metro during rush hours i.e. 8-10 am and 6 – 7 p.m.! Even though trains come very often, you may end up queuing inside the station waiting to enter the train, and then being squeezed inside the carriage.
Don’t forget to watch your belongings, especially when it’s so crowded!
Q: How not to get lost in the underground?
Most of the metro stations in Moscow have signs in both English and Russian. The names of the stations are called out in Russian and English. Still we recommend planning your metro trip before you enter the underground and always keep a metro map with you.
Metro entrances are marked with a big red letter “M”. Every metro line is marked with a different color. The brown one (a ring line) is the circular track which surrounds the city center and makes it easy to navigate between other lines. The green and red lines are the most touristy ones, because they pass by the top Moscow tourist attractions, including The Red Square.
Many stations have been recently renovated, so it became easier to find your way around. The most important signs:
entrance to the metro – Вход в метро (vhod v metro)
exit to the city – Выход в город (vyhod v gorod)
You will also see signs on the ground inside the stations, to help you find the right line:
Remember the colour and the number of the line that leads to your desired station. All hanging transfer signs show line colours and numbers. Moscow residents normally use line colors instead of their long official names.
In case of panic and being lost you may use emergency call points. They have a panic button, as well as a metro map with English translation. Emergency call points are situated on each station.
We advice you to download IOS or Android application Я.Метро for better Moscow Metro navigation. You can switch the language into English or Turkish and you will never be lost.
Q: What else should I know?
Escalators are very long but run really fast. Always stand on the right side (people pass on the left) and never run up or down the escalators – you might get fined.
Taking amateur photos inside the underground is allowed but avoid the flash if a train is approaching or leaving the station. It might be considered unsafe and you may get fined.
The best meeting point in the underground is always the central hall inside the station, as most of the stations usually have multiple entrances/ exits.
Moscow metro is fast, safe and unbelievably beautiful. Stations represent the masterpiece of Soviet architecture and impress with stunning interiors.
If you visit Moscow for one day or a long holiday, business or pleasure – don’t forget to explore it’s underground! ExploRussia will be always happy to show you around!
See Moscow Metro map here.
Moscow Central Circle
MCC is a 54-kilometre-long orbital ground rail line. It was opened to passengers on 10 September 2016 and it is similar to S-bahn in Germany. Moscow Central Circle has the same payment cards and tariffs with Moscow Metro (e.g. Troika) so it can be used on both systems. There are 31 ring stations today which works as transfer hubs for the passengers who change to the surface transport and metro. Transfer from the Central ring to metro stations is free of charge.
Electric trains of MCC are super-modern ones. High-speed electric trains are equipped with air conditioners, toilets, sockets and free Wi-Fi. The stations of the Moscow Central Ring are also adapted for people with disabilities. You may take your bike with you, what is unfortunately prohibited in the Moscow Metro as it is old and not renovated for bikes yet.
See the map here. *Moscow Central Circle is the next circle after a brown one (of the metro) specified as two red lines circle.
Surface Moscow transport includes buses, trolleybuses and trams. As a result of huge modernisation campaign 39 ground routes have been united, transport run regularly with intervals, bus lanes have been built, transport hubs have become more convenient, all transport has Wi-Fi, at new stops electronic scoreboards work: passengers see when the next bus arrives, all buses have low sides and retractable steps to make it easy for the passenger to roll a baby carriage or a bicycle. This is convenient for bikers, parents and passengers with restricted mobility.
Passengers use the front door to get on and other doors to get off.
Tickets are validated in a validating machine installed inside the bus at the entrance near the front door.
On some routes you need to signal a driver to stop by pressing the call button located on the handrail near the exit doors.
All the surface transport has the same tariffs as the Moscow Metro and you may use your cards that you can buy in the Metro, but bare in mind that you may buy only one-way ticket Yediniy (Unified) at the driver in a bus, trolleybus, tram at the entrance.
Find Surface Transport Network of Moscow City Center.
Bikesharing is well-developed in Moscow, at the moment the system is comprised of 380 stations and 3,600 bicycles available. Each registered user can rent a bicycle at any bike rental station and return the bike to any other station.
For registration in the bike rental system there is the application for the smartphone “Velobike”, the terminal of the station or the site www.velobike.ru. To pay a rental fee VISA or MASTERCARD card are needed. The tariffs depend on the amount of days you rent a bike. So for a 24 hour rental the cost is 150 RUB (includes 30 minutes per day) + 1000 RUB deposit. (this is the minimum tariff).
Getting to / from the major airports
The average cost of a taxi ride from Moscow airports to the city center
Sheremetyevo – 950 Rub
Vnukovo – 1000 Rub
Domodedovo – 1250 Rub
The waiting time for the taxi during peak hours is 5-7 minutes. In the center of the city the car will arrive in 1-3 minutes.
The largest taxi operators in Moscow are: NEXI, Taxi 2412, Taxi Rhythm, Formula taxi, Mostaxi, Glavprokat, Novoe Zheltoe Taxi, Taxi 956.
You can also use any of the following pre-installed applications to get anywhere: Uber, Yandex.Taxi, Gett.
Note: English-speaking driver in Moscow is still as rare as an English-speaking pearl in the sea. So finding an ordered car in the airport might become an issue.
Or if money isn’t an object at all, you can use a helicopter. And yes, we are all jealous here.
This photo is taken from mos.ru
Aeroexpress is a convenient means of transport covering routes between Moscow and airports of the Moscow Air Cluster: Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo.
The Terminals are located at Moscow Railway stations:
From Sheremetyevo Aeroexpress trains arrive at Belorussky Railway station
From Vnukovo Aeroexpress trains arrive at Kievskiy Railway station
From Domodedovo Aeroexpress trains arrive at Paveletsky Railway station
Railway stations are located near Metro stations Belorusskaya, Kievskaya and Paveletskaya accordingly.
See the timetable here.
Passengers can purchase Aeroexpress tickets from Aeroexpress ticket offices and ticket vending machines, website at www.aeroexpress.ru, via the Aeroexpress mobile app (for iOS and Android), and from mobile ticket clerks at the airports.
There is Wi-Fi in all Aeroexpress trains.
The standard one-way ticket costs 500 RUB, but there are other tariffs for children, families, etc, you may look here.
Upon request, physically challenged passengers are able to receive assistance from a personal assistant free of charge. Train carriages are equipped with folding ramps to accommodate the needs of wheelchair users, as well as special seats and toilet facilities adapted for disabled people. The ticket offices at the company’s terminals are equipped with special intercom stations for hearing impaired people. The platforms at rail terminals and Aeroexpress terminals are equipped with tactile plates, enabling visually challenged passengers to move on their own. The new double-deck carriages are equipped with unique lifts, which are used to transport passengers in wheelchairs between the decks.
You see that Moscow transport system is huge and comprehensive and it may seem that it is complicated. But it’s not. To tell you the truth before modernisation it left much to be desired and finally it has been modernised and it has become really cool, we live in Moscow and face these changes. Fewer traffic jams, cheaper taxis, easy transfers from airports, more metro stations, we like it and enjoy it every day.
The rolling stock of surface and underground transport has been modernised including the launch of more than 6,000 new buses and 264 metro cars which meet the requirements of the world standards. All these were made also for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and Moscow is ready for the number of tourists that are going to visit our city.
We wish you happy travels on any means of transport in Moscow! See you in Moscow!